The momentum for college football to be played this fall continues to grow with each passing day.
On Friday afternoon, the Big 12 and the SEC announced plans to allow football players for volunteer workouts on campus by mid-June. That same day, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said he thought athletes would be safer on campus and that college football may start on time.
Scott’s comments came during an interview with CNN in which he also expressed optimism that fans will see some type of college football season in the fall — and that some may even be able to attend games.
“We’ve got three states in our conference where gyms are already open and student-athletes are wanting to get back,” Scott said . “In most cases, we feel that student-athletes will be in a safer position and a healthier position if they can have access to the world-class medical care, supervision and support that they can get on their campuses, and if there are issues with the virus, to have access to these world-class medical centers that we have.”
The SEC and Big 12’s announcements come just two days after the NCAA Division I Council voted to lift a moratorium on voluntary workouts on campus by football and basketball players, effective June 1. The NCAA updated that ruling Friday by saying voluntary activities would be allowed in all sports starting June 1.
The Pac-12 has yet to make an announcement on when it will permit athletes on campus, but Scott’s comments appear to signal a step in that direction. He also indicated football camps could start in late July and there could be fans in the stands at Pac-12 stadiums — although likely in a “phased” approach.
“I think what we’re going to see is a patchwork state by state on the fan issue,” Scott told CNN. “I think collectively college football will move together to start playing, hopefully, at the beginning of the season, assuming we have support from public health officials.
“But I think we’re going to see a wide disparity across the country. I even see it in my own conference, where states will allow fans, probably initially on some type of socially distanced basis, and then in a phased approach start allowing more and more, and some states will be a little bit more conservative and will be playing in front of empty stadiums.”
The SEC initially announced Friday that voluntary in-person activities could resume June 8 on SEC campuses only for football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball. But after the NCAA issued its updated ruling Friday afternoon, the SEC announced that June 8 date would apply to athletes in all sports.